Last week, Edith Ramirez, the newly named chair of the Federal Trade Commission, participated in her first public appearance as chairwoman at the International Association of Privacy Professionals conference. Her comments there bode well for the future of domestic privacy protection, especially when paired with the FTC’s recent settlement with HTC concerning the mobile device maker’s unfair and deceptive trade practices.
In her remarks to IAPP, Ramirez highlighted the importance of the FTC’s unfairness authority under Section 5 of the FTC Act. We at CDT have previously advocated for the agency to broaden its interpretation of the unfairness power. Ramirez also reiterated her support for use of the unfairness power in enforcement actions, within reason. “I feel we’ve used [the unfairness authority] very reasonably,” Ramirez said, emphasizing that such authority doesn’t give the agency a blank check. We agree that the unfairness power is important, and that it must be used carefully.
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